Disabled and elderly homeowners (65 and older) may have more options for repayment of property taxes. Easier payment plans or even tax deferral may be available in some circumstances. This help is not automatic and you should contact the tax appraisal office and follow their procedures.

What Assistance Can I Get for Delinquent Property Taxes?

You may qualify for deferred or reduced property taxes without filing bankruptcy. The Texas Comptroller has a list of property tax exemptions and forms for filing in your local appraisal district. Very important – you cannot defer or enter into installment payments if you have a mortgage (even a reverse mortgage.) If you have a regular or reverse mortgage and are behind on taxes, you will need to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy to get caught up.

Can I Pay My Past Due Property Taxes in Payments?

Yes, if you don’t have any mortgage against your home. If you qualify for the age-65 or disabled exemption, you are entitled to help. Usually, you can pay property taxes in four installments with installments due February 1, April 1, June 1, and August 1 without penalty and interest. You will pay a lower rate of interest. As of May 2020, the interest rate on property taxes for the elderly and disabled is 8%, rather than the normal 12%.

Can I Postpone or Defer My Taxes?

Deferral or postponement may be available if you own your home free and clear. If you are 65 or older or disabled, taxes may be deferred as long as you own and live in your home. You are required to file a tax deferral affidavit with the appraisal district. You need to check with your appraisal district to be certain that all taxing entities in your tax district are required to defer. If you have been sued for tax foreclosure, you may also need to file the affidavit with the Court, which will abate the taxes.

Importantly, this does not mean that the taxes are canceled. They still accrue interest. Don’t try to defer taxes if you have a mortgage. The mortgage company can “call” the note for failure to pay property taxes. Once you move from the home or pass away, past taxes with interest become due. If you have a surviving spouse who is fifty-five or older, they may continue to receive the tax deferral for as long as they live in the home.

Should I File Bankruptcy to Help Me Catch up on Past-Due Taxes?

If you have a mortgage and the delinquent taxes are too much for you to catch up on, Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be an option. Taxes can usually be caught up through a minimum three-year payment plan. Contacting a bankruptcy attorney as soon as possible may help you avoid expensive fees, penalties, and interest.